Breakin' Down the Bytes

Cloud Talk with Ethan Banks

February 22, 2022 Patrick Allen Season 1 Episode 21
Breakin' Down the Bytes
Cloud Talk with Ethan Banks
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we sat down with Ethan Banks of packetpushers.net and discussed how he got his start, some really hot careers in the industry right now, specifically cloud technologies. We had some great discussions on formal education vs certifications and if cloud certifications are too big of a jump coming from A+ or Net+ disciplines plus much much more!

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Ethan:

That's easy.

Pat:

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to this week's edition of, so you want to be in it if you've been here before, you know, or about, if you are a first time listener welcome, we are a podcast aimed at those starting out their journey in the vast world of it. We talk about navigating the world of it as a beginner from how to break in how to climb the ladder office politics management and everything in between. So welcome back to this week's edition. I'm your host, pat. You can find me on Twitter @patallen182. You can find the show on Twitter @sywbiit the acronym for, so you want to be in it. So we're pretty active on Twitter. Come say, hello. Dean is here with me as always. He's on Twitter @deanmacuk what's up, Dean. How you doing?

Dean:

Hey, how are you doing?

Pat:

Not too bad. This is a good one for me personally, this is an exciting episode. We have the man, the myth, the legend Mr. Ethan Banks from packet pushers networks. He has reached out to us and wants to be on the show to come chat to all the newbies out there. He is here. Hey.

Ethan:

Hey guys, pat and Dean. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. You know why I'm usually hosting a podcast? The podcast is turning the tables. I got to put my brain in a different gear. Thanks for having me on. I saw you guys on Twitter and saw who you were addressing I was like, if you ever need a gas, let me know. And here I am.

Pat:

Woo. Okay, here you are. I love it. Here you are. Yeah, no, thanks for reaching out. This has been awesome. This is our 21st episode for those of you keeping score at home, we've had some really great guests on here and Ethan is the next in line for the great guests. So really appreciate you joining us for the next hour or so and coming in and hanging and chatting and then whatever else.

Ethan:

Yeah, man. I, again, I appreciate it. And those of you out here, those that are new, if you don't have any idea who I am, we're Packet Pushers, it's just go to packetpushers.net. My site is ethancbanks.com and the law. Very long story short former Cisco certified all the way up through CCIE some years ago. And what had a blog and started a podcast. And that was back in 2010. The podcast started and we've been doing it ever since, talking about deep in the weeds, networking stuff. And and that is my career. These days. I actually do the podcasting thing full time. Believe it or not. Somehow I went from doing actual work, like building routers and monitoring and managing firewalls and stuff do. Now I just talk about it, which is way easier. I got to be honest

Pat:

with that at all. And we all strive to be like you, Ethan, I'm going to just put that out there right now.

Dean:

That's awesome. So how did you get started?

Ethan:

You want to go like way back in, like how I got started in it, Dean, that

Dean:

I wanna go grassroots like five. What was your first computer? What got you interested? Wait, not even touching the Cisco stuff. I want to know. What was your, what you fascinated about technology? Yeah. Grassroots.

Ethan:

Yeah. So that goes back to my dad. My dad gets a hundred percent credit for that back in the eighties. And he was a guy that was and, and is deep into electronics and technology and all that stuff. And when he wasn't doing his day job, he was repairing electronics at night and he picked up an interest in computers. And we had a radio shack, TRS 80 model three at the house. And I didn't understand much about what it could do. But I knew I could play games on it. And it had this thing called basic on there and you could do programming with it. And I was trying to get my head around that as a young guy. I don't know how. I might've been 10, 12. I don't know. I was pretty young, but that morphed into a Commodore 64. So I cut my teeth really using computer seriously on a Commodore 64. This is right when. Computers are becoming popular in the home and affordable and not just something that businesses would spend many thousands of dollars on and have, to run their spreadsheets on. You can actually do stuff at home with it. And and I did basic programming and I read computer magazines compute, I think was the name of one of them. And they'd have basic code in the back. And that's how you could get the code into the computer, sit there and type it in, look at what was on the magazine. They just type it with your fingers, like a caveman, but

Dean:

they didn't give you the the floppy, like

Ethan:

worse than that floppy disk cassette tape. Yeah. You could, you could save things on cassette tape, even and load that stuff into the computer that way. But but yeah, that was that I learned to program sprites making the blocky pixel graphics on the screen by programming a raise and stuff. And that, we could go into all kinds. Weird and wonderful stuff from way back in the day, but that was the beginning of it, me as a junior high or hacking around on a Commodore 64 and trying to figure out how to write games and basic and doing some projects for school. And and then, as I was getting ready to go off to university and trying to figure out what I should study, my dad's advice was this computer thing, man, it's not stopping. If you've got a computer science degree, it's gonna you'll be set for life. And that's exactly what I did. And he was exactly right. I got a computer science degree in college, learned how to program for serious. And and that did set me up for a career because as we know, as we're here talking, it just took over everything, all these different jobs as programmers or technologists or infrastructure engineers have made careers for many of us.

Dean:

Absolutely. That's

Pat:

awesome. So what year was that Ethan like? So you got out of college and with a computer science degree in your hand, where did you start from there? Did you dive right into networking? Because I know you're a heavy network guy now, like you dive right into it. Did you start to help this? You started as this sys admin, sys admin.

Ethan:

No. So the computer model at that time, this was 1993. When I graduated, the model was mini computers, like DECVAC and and mainframe computers big IBM boxes and such and devices that you played in that field Unisys mainframes, and the that was the model where you had some dumb terminal on your desk that was talking back to the brains, way back, deep in the computer room somewhere. It wasn't like we have today where there were powerful, personal computers talking to servers, the whole client server thing. It was just beginning this in 93 in this time networks were just taken off. And when I graduated, I did not have a computer science job right out of the gate. I taught high school for a year. Did some computer stuff. Then I ended up working for a bank for a while. And long story short from there. I got, I went to Novell school. I don't know Novell rebel for you guys predates you. But I became I went to Novell training to become a certified NetWare administrator and then eventually a certified NetWare engineer. And did consulting work after that? The training center that I went to also had a consulting arm, and I was able to take my role as a student at the training center and talk to different the instructors and talk to people that were on the consulting side of the house for that business and landed a gig consulting. And that really was the beginning of my work and networking to do NetWare stuff. You had to know. Some computer networking. Like we would think of it today, the wires and ethernet, and I was going to say IP, but it wasn't really IP at the time. It was IPX. And and you had to know that stuff. You also had to know servers and server operating systems and with net where you had to know, like, how do you do a NetWare loadable module and installing the client software on windows box. So someone could log into the server and get violent print services. You have to know all that stuff too, in addition to the wires and the packets and all of that. So there was very much. A generalist discipline there, dealing with that, that, that infrastructure. And I just, I rode the wave from NetWare stuff. It became WindowsNT after that, and Novell kind of faded, they made some really bad marketing mistakes, began to lose some market, share Microsoft was doing everything right and did their very best to eat Novell's lunch and did so the well faded Microsoft windows NT, and then windows 2000 came along with directory services, changed the game that were never caught up. And Novell is still around. I believe there's still a corporate entity putting out Linux distros and such, but but effectively they're gone from what they were back in the heyday. And I've just been riding the certification train all the way back from the nineties until I did CCIE stuff back 10 odd years ago, I just kept getting certs and certs and certs to help drive my career to the next thing I've got to get on the certified as some certification that would take me to wherever it was that I wanted to go next.

Dean:

So you went from Novell networks to working on MicrosoftNT and then, and how did you circle

Ethan:

exactly that? Yeah.

Dean:

And then how did you move from the Microsoft or windows world to Cisco?

Ethan:

Pretty much. I had an opportunity to do some Cisco work at a consultancy. And I dug in to CCNA training. Cause it was pretty new to me. You end up with some kind of networking knowledge, right? You can't not do client server networking and the Novell and Microsoft world not pick up some of it for sure, but that's different from hardcore Cisco networking. And so I dug into a CCNA program because of some consulting opportunities. I had to do some Cisco work and just yeah, I want to do that and got into it. And I got hooked. It was the thing that in that coursework, I realized this is the Microsoft and Novel stuff was fine. Was fun. I enjoyed it. But the Cisco stuff, the networking stuff, oh man, this is the thing

Dean:

it brings you alive. Doesn't it? It really brings. Yeah. I dunno, just excitement and passion if it's there. Anyway,

Ethan:

when I was a kid, real young, I love listening to shortwave radio. There was a. Joy. I found in being able to sit with the short wave radio and especially at night when radio signals bounce off the ionosphere. And so they can, at certain frequencies, they can circle the globe effectively. This was back in the days of the iron curtain. I would listen to these broadcasts coming out of various Soviet nations, listening to propaganda broadcast. It was wild, but I was fascinated by this ability to communicate around the world, so fast forward for me being a kid, listening to shortwave radio to the internet, blowing up, and everybody needed to be connected to the internet and the communications that brought and going from now being able to talk individually on, on chat or whatever kind of protocols around the world. And it was like that it was that shortwave radio, but now on steroids bi-directional comms and so cool. And of course everything was being standardized and TCP/IP at that point as well. So you were going from a world of, I was administrating some networks early on where it was, you still had some network around, so there was IPX and there was some Microsoft networking. So you had some net buoy kicking around the network and on. So all these protocols use where now everything's consolidating on, on, on IP. You can, I kinda got this sense of here's the world standardizing on a communications protocol, stack, TCP IP, we're all talking together across this network internally, our businesses are talking about externally we're sharing across the Internet. This is it, man. This is exactly where I want to be.

Dean:

Finally, there was a standard before you just saw like lots of different companies for, in their sort of hat in the sort of in the ring, trying to figure out what's the best standard. And you've seen a development stage. Standards coming through different organizations. And then obviously everyone that deals with RFCs and things of that nature. And then obviously, yes, funny for like, IP I'm using a similar protocols, understand the protocols and

Ethan:

very much. And in those early days of the RFCs being written and released and so on, there were specific communications problems that were being solved, not just for universities and science research organizations, and so on that were using the internet. But for everybody, and there was a big drive for interoperability. And again, you would just, if you were an engineer at that time, you just riding the wave of this explosion of. Standardizing technology. I'm chuckling a bit because we've we've got so much fragmentation in the networking industry nowadays, but but then it was like, let's make everything work. And there was even a big conference, the interrupt conference, which is faded here in recent years, but the interrupt conference was the biggest networking conference. There was because it brought all the vendors together. And the whole point of the conference was to bring networking devices from all these different vendors and have them work together on display, demonstrating their compliance with standards and their ability to exchange. And it was just, it was the coolest thing ever to be a part of everybody's chasing the dollars now. And so now it's we want to be differentiated. So we get to do things different from everybody else. So you stick with our ecosystem, keep buying our stuff. So a different model, unfortunately, but. But at that time and we're talking and we're talking the early to mid two thousands, especially this was all just taken off and you're just riding this again, this amazing wave. And there was enough work to do that. You could just focus on the transport end of it. You didn't have to, it helped if you knew server stuff, of course, but you didn't have to be overly focused on delivering file and printed email services. Good to know that stuff you could spend time working on routers and switches and in security as, as well. That was a pretty, pretty typical formula. You would work on routers, switches, firewalls, and then some of the peripheral stuff, monitoring systems, SNMP polling, pretty hot back in the day. And Oh IPS systems. And when the such but it was all you were living down at the packet level, that's where everything was going on. And there was enough work to do, and certainly in larger organizations to keep you and other network packet minded, nerds occupied. And it was awesome. It was, I'll tell you, man. It was heady days.

Pat:

That's awesome. So taking that model that you just talked about as far as riding that wave, could you is that, can you compare it to today with the takeoff of the cloud in the last, I don't know, say five, six, maybe 10 years of the cloud, really starting to be a mainstay and a lot of companies say, are we in that wave that you've just described, that happened 20 years ago when everybody was riding that initial wave is the wave now with the cloud in that same fragment. Cause. Like, the industry is just absolutely booming with development and dev net and coding and cloud, and it literally is taking off. It is the perfect industry to get in now because there's just so much to do in so many avenues. You won't be bored. You know what I mean? For the next 50 years? Whatever it is.

Ethan:

No, you won't be bored that's for sure. If you're trying to figure out what the next big technology is to ride the wave of it, it's hard to argue against cloud. And by cloud I'm talking, I'm talking public cloud, I'm talking like three AWS, Azure, and GCP, for sure, with those there's other clouds out there too. But those are the ones that we tend to think of. Yeah. It's hard to go wrong with that. But for me, looking back over, 38 years of it career. It's interesting to look at cloud from a standpoint of what it actually is under the hood. It's an abstraction layer of all the stuff I grew up learning and maintaining. It's your it's just hiding bare metal from you, so sure. A different play. You're accomplishing the same things you used to accomplish on bare metal. You're just doing it in the cloud. You've moved your data elsewhere. You're running on someone else's server and rather than dealing with things like a CPU and memory management and disc IO, and having to be worried about those things, you're having to worry about the cost of having an EC2 instance that's got as much power as you're looking for but not too big, it's a different way of thinking about it. You're managing money as much as you are managing what the system is. It's it's, it takes a different discipline in a different way of thinking as an engineer or an architect when you're looking at cloud it's a very different animal. I feel so the problems you're solving. R again, it's not quite the same. This is awesome and fun. And I can't wait to take a new server out of the box and rack it and make it do the thing. Now it's I have to deliver a service in a secure and robust way while also being budget conscious and not necessarily being able to give a hard and fast number to the accounting folks of what this is going to cost. Cause it might vary month over month, depending on the solution being delivered. So it's complicated. Now, if you want to talk about it from a career like demand perspective, you can't go wrong with cloud, right? If you have AWS skills and if you have Azure skills, those two, especially, and then, up and coming GCP. There's work for you. There's going to be lots of work for you out there. And there's still room to specialize in particular disciplines, like networking or security, those two, especially because those disciplines are hard. And there's a lot to know because we've been building up what there is to know over the last, 20 and 30 years.

Pat:

Sure.

Ethan:

That can help you be truly expert at that job. Yeah. And I guess you put it earlier Pat enough to keep you busy for the next 50 years. Yeah

Pat:

probably. Yeah. I just think the cloud, some people love it. Some people hate it, that sort of thing. It depends on your business right on, which pool you're going to play in. You see a lot of good with the cloud, right? And for example and this is the one that sticks in my head. I think you, and I've talked about this before this, the scalability of the cloud it's just insane. So 10, 12, 15 years ago, you'd order physical parts and you'd have to wait for it to come in and a couple of weeks and you have to have somebody to put it together and rack and stack and all of this stuff, literally you just said that you took like an EC2, okay, I need it. I need another one. I need a bigger one. Okay. Shut it down. Choose your new guts, turn it back on. And you literally have double. You can have whatever guts you want in a matter of minutes.

Dean:

Providing you can pay it.

Pat:

Yeah. Perfect. Yeah, exactly. the scalability and the operability of that and the turnaround time. The cloud is hard to argue against in that particular fashion.

Ethan:

Plus you get to deal with infrastructure as code in a ready-made fashion, rather than trying to bolt infrastructure as code principles onto your bare metal, which may or may not work depending on what Terraform providers are there and what APIs are available. And so on. You've got all those pieces, all the Lego bricks and blocks are there for you in public cloud. That's the way they were meant to work, right from the beginning you brought up scale, pat, and I think there's a point to raise here. That's another interesting one from a career perspective. So you were describing scale up. I can take my EC2 instance that I've maxed out and I can make it bigger. Okay. But that's scaling up, making the one process run on a bigger box so that it's got, all the CPU and memory that it needs, but we can also scale out, so I can not just have, a bigger, easy to, I can have a second EC2 instance. or a third or an eighth or whatever, EC2 instance. And I can run multiple copies of that process. They got career opportunity comes in. Are you knowledgeable enough about how applications work so that an application that wasn't originally designed to scale out, have multiple copies of the app running and turn it into that. It was originally designed to run as a monolith where it, if you need it to run faster, you throw more CPU at it and you throw more memory at it. Or what happens if I spin up a second copy of it and then run it. Rearchitecting applications is another really interesting career opportunity for people that want their applications to function in what we would call a cloud native way. Legacy applications tend to not be that way. All you can do is throw the more at the one process that they're running on, but if you can rebuild the app so that it can scale out and then you can run as many copies of it as you need and have the app still run cohesively. That's a career opportunity for someone because a lot of apps, especially the older ones don't do that. And there's a career for people in cloud rewriting applications to make them function on the cloud native way.

Pat:

Yeah, no, that's a great point. I didn't think about that from that perspective. That's a great point. Cloud is gonna, is absolutely taken off there's always room for more cloud people. The dev ops people, coding. I have a cousin who's at Penn state shout out to him because I know he listens he's in their information systems, degree doing coding as well, C plus and Python and all that kind of stuff. Like he can't get enough of it. And I'm like, that is awesome. Cause you're not going to go wrong with any of that. It's just insane. And I think the next I'm going to say the next big thing, but the next facet of the cloud, if that makes sense or that's the right terminology is. Securing the public cloud. I think that's a big one in today's world. How do you do that with, like you said, you're taking away the bare metal underneath, so you're running on someone else's guts. How do you secure it from top down or down from the down, from the bottom up?

Ethan:

This is a super interesting time to get into that now, too, because there's a lot of startups that are trying to solve that problem. And there's a lot of lessons learned from people that haven't done it well, but trying to figure out how to do it well. So if we take in the infrastructure as code approach, I'm going to write a script and build a pipeline. That's going to deploy my cloud artifacts. How do I secure those along the way and have that integrated in my pipeline and have security tests that are being done in real time before I push the thing out there and make it happen. How do I know that? There's, let's say it's a container that I'm deploying in the cloud is a golden trustworthy image that it hasn't been tampered with. And, and so on, all this stuff is this technology is beginning to exist now in the early forms. And so people that want to get in hard into like cloud. Oh man, perfect time to get into it perfect time. So many of the bottom floor changing yeah, exactly.

Pat:

No, you're exactly right cloud. We've talked about it on the show before cloud dev ops security. Networking is another one with the whole SDN thing, the software defined networking coming in here and SDWAN and some people love it. Some people hate it. I've used a couple of different flavors of it at different places that I've been it, it does seem to be here to stay in mainstream and more people are more businesses I should say are, taking a flyer on it. It's simplifying VPN connectivity, right? The network now lives on the edge instead of, in an actual physical firewall box inside your office sort of thing your networks in the cloud, if you will. Speaking from a Velocloud perspective one of the SDWAN flavors that I've been exposed to and happy to work with, but I, I think networking, you can't go wrong. It's there's just so much out there. It's just, I wish I could name it all. I just can't. There's just so much out there. It's just an insane time personally. I think,

Dean:

The clouds goihn Ethan? Like, everyone talks about the cloud parsley. It doesn't really excite me. I prefer bare metal. I'm outta here. I actually hate the cloud. I'm not a cloud man.

Pat:

These, that old guy, get off my lawn,

Ethan:

there's no right answer here. So with cloud, we're seeing a couple of different trends, we were seeing for a while, everyone just en masse going to cloud, I remember doing I don't know, I was a speaker kind of a, coordinator for a group of different, for a large university that had a bunch of different it teams who have been given the mandate, we're going to cloud figure it out. You're on a timeline, make it so a thing that was, five odd years ago. I don't think we see that so much anymore. The original impetus to do that was money. It we're going to save money going to cloud. No, you're not going to save money going to cloud. We now know in 20 21, 20 22 was we recorded. So it becomes, what do you want to be in the business of doing if your business wants to be an it company that runs its own data centers in bare metal. And there's a lot of reasons you legitimately might want to do that, or even need to do that for regulatory reasons. Let's say. Fine. You can do that. There's nothing wrong with bare metal. It takes a certain amount of expertise to do it. You would want to be thinking about how to make your infrastructure agile enough cloud, like so that it can be consumed by developers. Assuming you have developers that are pushing apps onto that infrastructure in a way that they can consume it. That's all doable. Now. You can start with open source Kubernetes or then go to something like a red hat open shift and specialize in that to deliver it all yourself on bare metal. Or you can go on cloud public cloud, host everything there, get out of the business of running your own data centers and. Just say that's not something our business wants to specialize in. We're going to outsource that effectively to Azure and AWS and so on and become expert in standing up and tearing down and managing the life cycle of all the objects that you're using. And don't just look at infrastructure as a service kind of stuff. Like EC2 look at the past stuff, look at running one of the Amazon database flavors, because do you really need to stand up EC2 and then launch a database instance on that? That doesn't make a lot of sense. That's just VMware, but in the cloud basically, right? Don't you really want to, pick some database that's up there running for you and use that platform as a service instead. And then you're rethinking from an organizational standpoint, how you're delivering your it services and who you're asking to do what for you? Do you source this internally or not? What are you going to be the best at internally? Maybe you're the best at developing an application, but you don't want to have to deliver the application. That's fine. Then you've got devs and you've got a team of maybe dev ops, more dev ops oriented folks that are delivering stuff to the cloud. It's not an either, or it could be a, both, it could be a certain fits better for an organization, but not for a different organization. It could be certain apps are best if you deliver them yourself, or there's a middle ground here we haven't even talked about, which is you're not running your own data center, but you're not in the cloud either. You're co-located in Equinix or a SUPERNAP or something like that. And you've got Rackspace there and you just put your gear in a, in your locked cage and, rent, those are use, use their electricity, and they're incredibly well connected data center to get your data delivered to wherever your customer base is. That's a pretty popular option as well. That. It was that cloud, not like we, not in the context we've been having this conversation. No but it moves you down that row. Yeah.

Dean:

Yeah. It's like a hybrid kind of deal. Yeah. You're hosting

Pat:

just step to the cloud. Yeah. It's not really in your data center, in a room in your office. It's not on-prem, but it's not in public cloud either. You sort of that weird half-step middle of the road kind of deal.

Dean:

I think they had something in Silicon valley like that, where they, there you go.

Ethan:

There's another thing here that we haven't mentioned, which is we engineered types who love to put our hands on the metal and make it do the thing. We're just nerds that love to with that stuff. But honestly, it's. The special thing, it's not that magical to do that. There's nothing that makes you feel special, undifferentiated, heavy lifting. If you heard that before,

Dean:

I have

Ethan:

to figure out why am I doing undifferentiated heavy lifting of racking servers and routers and all that stuff. If I can outsource it to someone else. And I'm not saying there aren't good answers to that question. Cause there are, but or they can be, but you gotta know what the answer is and be confident from a business perspective that you're you're making that decision for the right reason.

Dean:

Yeah, I get what you're saying. Yeah, for sure. And what you want to call them in training. Yeah, I totally get where.

Pat:

So then Ethan. So where my mind goes to then is for someone breaking in or, listening in their dorm room or, mid-life career change, whatever it is in the cert game, let's say, okay, yeah, you're talking to all of this cloud, you're talking all this dev, you're talking all this networking and security, all that kind of stuff. From the cert perspective in the last couple of years, I've seen the AWS certs really start to hold. Some wait in some certain circles, especially, AWS being the biggest public cloud out there, like your AWS SAA, the solutions architect. And you've got the networking specialty you've got there's a security one out there now and all that kind of stuff. Is that somewhere to start or would you pull it back even further, like a plus net plus comp Tia level things like and there may or may not be a wrong answer. It's just your opinion at this point. Yeah. You want to get there fast, but how fast too fast.

Ethan:

Th there is a set of fundamentals that I've always been big on stressing, that is if the cloud abstracts a lot of things away from you, it's nice to know what they're hiding, what's being abstracted. So if you do in a plus and you do a network plus, and you get a good handle on the fundamentals, When you move to cloud, you're like, oh, that's what they're doing. Oh, that's what's going on underneath the hood. And certain things just are going to click a little bit better. I'm not saying you can't start with, some of the entry-level AWS servers cause they do start you pretty gently. I have to be in full transparency. I haven't actually done any of those serve soup to nuts, but I've been through some of the training and been through many of the blueprints to know where they're going, how they like to build the knowledge cloud. And when you're in public cloud and dealing with those technologies, they are built upon the things you're going to learn about in a plus and network plus. And so if you're truly starting from the. Maybe you've got either no education beyond high school and you've just been dabbling in this stuff. And you're trying to, you want a more formalized the stuff, when you've been geeking out about, that's not a bad way to go a plus network plus, and then made Ws is a pretty safe place to start, I think, as far as public cloud. And then if you want to get into, I would say Azure would be the number two. Just because so many businesses that are Microsoft shops tend to put workloads into Azure. Sure. That would be your second cloud that you would learn. If you're, again, trying to find those job opportunities, you will be. Pretty grounded at that point, understanding what the cloud is delivering. And when you begin to get into some of the more esoteric networking topics you'll have a reasonable basis for that. Yeah.

Pat:

That's kicks off another question too. And we touched on this on other podcasts and stuff, but do you think going from an eight plus or an end plus, to the right to the AWS SAA or cloud practitioner, that comes to mind, is that a bridge that is. That is walkable or is that a bridge too far to absorb all that cloud knowledge for one exam, for someone that's just doing an a plus. So for example if you're ramping up for a CCNA, but you're not in the network world every day, that is a large bridge to gap because there's such a knowledge gap there. And the S and P at least for me, the NANP was not that bad of a knowledge gap. And now I hear that the NP to the IE is another large bridge because of the knowledge that's there. So I guess what I'm getting at is are those bridges too big to go from a plus to to AWS either cloud practitioner or a the SAA,

Ethan:

The gaps were never too big. I don't even the programs that you're citing. It almost doesn't matter in a sense. If you are willing to have a realistic timeframe, don't expect to do it in a month. But if you have a realistic timeframe and a well-defined roadmap of how you're going to get from where you are to where you want to go, you will get the work done

Dean:

realistic. I just don't think the CCI is realistic.

Ethan:

A CCIE is a bit of a different animal. When you get in any of these, they're all attainable. But it's study time. You're willing to put into them expert level certifications. That's why the latest, the CCA program, to be honest. But when I did it, I was up to my elbows in core network architecture for a large financial institution. And I was living and breathing Cisco every day of my life. In addition to already having been a CCNA, CCNP, a CCSP, which isn't a thing specking, large core networks and mentoring a lot of other engineers. And I had many years of experience behind me and now built on that foundation. I was working towards CCIE. At that doesn't mean there aren't very young CCAs without a lot of experience. It is doable. How much time have you got the lab? What's your accessibility, the equipment you need to go down to the particular CCIU track that you want. What is your willingness to put up with the written trivia exam to just get, to get you to the lab and then how much money are you willing to spend and how many failures of the lab are you willing to tolerate before you finally pass it?

Dean:

Oh, great question.

Ethan:

A huge amount of life sacrifices. It is doable, but the key here is the plan. Now, going back to pat here, original scenario, can you go like a plus and plus, A-plus and network plus, and then go to the. Some of the AWS service. Yeah. All of that, everything you need to be able to pass, those exams is out there. You can put your hands in the AWS cloud and spin things up. And as long as you're paying attention to what you're doing, it's not even going to cost you money. It's not, you, it's a minimal investment in study materials. You don't have to buy servers like you would have back in the day for certain other search before the clouds of thing. But do you have the focus? Do you have the discipline? And again, I've used the word roadmap. Do, are you an organized enough person so that you can sit with the blueprint and sit with the study guides and sit with the books? You've gotten a hold of and, or the Pluralsight course that you're invested in and you're going to make the time to study them and not just watch them casually while flipping through your phone, but make detailed notes, ask yourself questions and go back through the material and then reinforce the material with labs. So that. You don't watch the video and say, I'm done. You have to own the material deeply because technology information builds foundation on foundation. You got to own it, or you're just, you're throwing bricks that are going to fall back down and you never going to get that building stood up. So there's a serious mindedness about it to truly own. Detailed technical information that I think in a distracted age where we're all on our phones, looking at Twitter and TechTalk, and Netflix wants us to watch their next series. That probably sucks. Like the last three you tried, but you want to watch it anyway because the cover shot looks, and our brains are trained to be distracted. It's harder and harder. I think to have the focus needed to really Excel. It's one thing to get an entry level cert. But if you really want to be a really top notch engineer and push your career ahead far, you've got to put a lot of that part of your life aside, the social and the screaming and the gaming, and just focus on the noise, spent a lot of noise out there, which you got to make. Yeah.

Pat:

For sure. No, that's a good point. And the certification talks that sorta reminded me there too. And these are for folks that are, mid career change and not sure where to start, or should you go back for your degree to, you have any of 12 credits to get to an associates and, should you go back or she just started from a certification perspective. What's your take Ethan on a formal college education versus assert now, obviously some entry-level and then build, depending on the type of study are you are, and what kind of engineer you want to end up being, do you see, is there a trade off between the, the formal education coming out, wide eyed and bushy tailed and trying to rule the world at 24 or, should is it a better investment to go cert and build that way? What do you see there?

Ethan:

You do not have to have a college degree to have a successful career in it. You don't, however, there's always a however, Makes you a more well-rounded person. You get more than just a computer science degree or an information technology degree, whatever your program specializes. So it is a trade-off I know many people who Are incredibly knowledgeable, respected in the industry and work for networking vendors, let's say, and they have little to no formal college education. They went the cert route. They went, on the job training, they went hard and deep for big companies and just took advantage of every opportunity that was given them to do whatever it was in their career and made the most of it. Didn't have a college degree. I know other people who have. Master's degrees in computer science, or they got a computer science degree and edit an MBA, let's say, and they too are very successful. So there is no one right path. It is possible. It is definitely possible to come out of high school, go hard and deep on certification, professional certifications. Be able to get your foot in the door at a company because they'll take a chance on you that even though you have little to no job experience, they'll they you got the cert and you seem what's up, so let's do it. Let's give it a shot. Yeah. They make it work and that's it. That's all they needed. They got that foot in the door. They got that first job and their career just goes. I could, I'm a weird case there in that my computer science degree that I got back between 1989 and 1993 was very programming focused. My most of my career has been an infrastructure I've never been paid to be a programmer. Even though I took four years of schooling, that was almost all focused on code. It was on writing code skills. Say again,

Dean:

Dean

Ethan:

in my life. Python and API calls, not even to do with infrastructure, just other stuff I've had to do related to my job, but it just made me so happy to be able to do all that stuff. And yet dev net, I think it's great. I love it. I grew up with the programming background just or just are feeling at home again,

Dean:

your two worlds meet that don't know infrastructure and code coming together. I thought you would like that. Yeah.

Ethan:

Yeah. There's no doubt. No doubt. Because again, to me, I would way rather have a script that stands up some bit of infrastructure for me, rather than me logging in to the stupid thing and coffee, tea, and router BGP. There's no magic in that. I just want a script that I press the button and it does it. And it's done. Yeah. That's the special part is the result, not the ability to log into the switch and type the thing.

Pat:

It's not how you got there. It's the end result. So people are looking for anyway, the business needs results. The fastest way you can get there and get it right. They're all for it.

Dean:

So there's no right way of getting a career into it. Have you seen any advancements or non advancements for people who don't have degrees, as opposed to ones who do

Ethan:

there are certain jobs out there that will require you have a degree. That's still a thing that hasn't gone away. A lot of positions, the way HR departments will write them. We'll say, if you don't have a college degree, but do have X number of years of experience, that'll make up the difference. We'll allow that to make up the difference. Otherwise it will be a prerequisite for you to be considered for the job that you have a two or four-year degree, depending on what the position is. Now. That just depends. If there is, again, it's not a, it depends on the organization and what their standards are and how old school they are. And you know what the expectations are when I was a younger guy in my twenties, that was pretty much expected. You add a four year degree nowadays. It is a bit different. There's another thing that plays into the advantage of folks with just certifications. There's not enough people to go around right now. There's not enough. It falls. Available to fill positions. And so if you are you lack experience, but you are certified, that might be a foot in the door for, especially for those entry level junior engineer, administrator help desk, kind of jobs assert might be enough where, you don't need a degree necessarily.

Dean:

Would you say though that your degree mattered like today though? Like I know you did a degree a long time ago, but if you going to have a new job or seeking new employment of all the experience and certifications you have, I know you would probably still put your degree and resume because my hard work and accomplishment you've done. However, do you see the relevance of in 2022 for yourself?

Ethan:

From a career perspective, Dean, I don't think it matters for me. I'm 30 odd years into an it career. So if I stick my resume in front of someone, they're not going to be looking at what my college degree is and what my GPA was. Gotcha. That was a long time ago. They are going to look at my experience, oh, you worked at this company and did this. And he was an engineer and he was an architect and he was a, a tech lead and he was a manager and whatever. They're going to look at all of those things. And if it's an overly engineering oriented thing, they're going to look@alltheacronymsandheknowswhatthis.one Q thing is. I don't know. It's probably great. Will the degree matter? No, not at this late stage of my career. All that stuff. And you know what, Dean, that's true for certifications too. I don't actually hold any certifications at the moment because I got sick of renewing them at some point. And I don't,

Dean:

I'm with you that even with the CE credits

Ethan:

trouble, getting a job, certain things. Yeah. If I was like, I needed to be, deep in the weeds building, I don't know, MPLS with segment routing for some huge Juniper shop and they don't really want to talk to me unless I'm a J and C, that could be a thing that I would get. That would be a thing. And they'd probably be right. I'd have to, I'd have to do some beefing up on some of that configuration stuff and kind of dust off some skills that I've let lapse, but on the whole, for the vast majority of it jobs, I'd be interested in. It's going to be my experience and what I've done in the industry that matters the most. So you say.

Dean:

Is what you're saying. And then after that, it's that you're saying the certifications and your formal education or more sort of entry level things.

Ethan:

That is my opinion. Okay. What it is. It's an opinion. That is my take. Now I've been interviewed a lot and I've interviewed a lot of people as well. And when I have been filtering through resumes for a position I needed to fill, I'm always looking for the experience. People, if I can find them, and if they've got 10 years in the field, I don't care if they've got a certification or not. I care what they've been doing. We're working on, one of my favorite interview questions go up on the whiteboard and draw out. And, oh, you were the network engineer for the us asides great drought, a, a segment of the network don't give away any company secrets, but it's show me the core and how it went out to the remote offices and your uplink to the cloud and where your firewalls were. And then you get a sense for where they're at in their, that conversation. And that drawing on the whiteboard goes well. And they got that experience. That's great. I don't need them to have whatever the cert is. Now. There is a big asterisk. If you're trying to get a job out of our value added reseller, or be a consultant for a consultancy where they might care if you're certified, because they might need your certification to help them get more discount points with Cisco, let's say they made a level of X number of CCIS on staff or something. So those things can matter. But for the average enterprise and average service provider for many roles, can you do the gig?

Dean:

Yeah,

Pat:

rarely. No, that's true. I've worked for a couple providers and whatnot, and that, that instance is true. They need a certain number of CCIS on staff or a certain number of, VMware experts or whatever. And they, the more they have the bigger their discount is on set gear. So that is a, that is a large You know what the word I'm looking for, but it's a large help to those organizations incentive. There you go. That's a large incentive.

Ethan:

Yeah. Especially as margins are thinner and thinner, you're trying to show, and you're competing against other people who can, a percentage point either way can make a difference, can make or break a deal. And they've got to have the certified folks on staff and that's the same today as it was back when I was working for a VAR at a Cisco partner and a compact partner before Compaq was bought by whoever they were bought by et cetera,

Pat:

all that HP

Ethan:

digital DEC was involved there somewhere. I think so.

Pat:

Yeah. I think I, I'm interested to see your thoughts on do you think there's a lot of parody in today's world or do you think there's a lot of. A lot of these vendors are they touch there. They touch a lot of things and they want you to play in their ecosystem because you mentioned it before. And that kind of that, that intrigued me as far as, okay. If something's gonna be a Cisco shop, they're going to be a Cisco, route switch ice DNA center, all that kind of stuff, where they touch everything. And then you say, okay, maybe Palo Alto. Now you're touching Palo Alto, strata, Prisma STN, and they ha they're starting to open up their doors into just more than a firewall company. Juniper is the same way, things of that nature. So do you think there's a lot of parody there or is it a lot of people just shoehorn you into their ecosystem? And you're left holding the bag.

Ethan:

The vendors want you in their world and they are building systems that entice you to do business with one vendor. Now that is a business play, not a technology play. What I mean by that is if I'm a business who needs to consume technology, wouldn't it be nice if I had a one-stop shop to buy everything from. And so Cisco sell it all to me. I'll buy it all from Cisco. That'd be great. There's advantages to being able to buy singles. Now from a technology perspective. We know why that may be isn't great all the time, but this is what we're seeing happen. There's a lot of companies that are either acquiring other companies or releasing new products that they develop internally to market with the hope of keeping you around and increasing your spend with them, whether or not those technologies that are deploying are compatible with something similar that another company is putting out the door. So we see ethernet, DCP, IP, and those basic connectivity, building blocks, being pretty uniform and OSP. F's kind of the same. And, and BGP works pretty much device to device. As soon as you move beyond those very fundamental, basic building blocks, baby. Good luck. You don't know what you're getting into there's standards out there, but even things like segment routing or SRV six, which is been widely used in the service provider space, a lot of it's compatible and based on the standards, a lot of it not so much, it's not all working together very well.

Dean:

That's true, but should a multicast is a huge one too. Some vendors likes to send multiple packets on, like to send them one at a time. There's no real standard on how that's done. So yeah, I definitely hear what you're saying. It's definitely a good.

Ethan:

And then you get into the fancy overlay stuff like SD win. None of the SD wan solutions work together. They're all, that's a wall garden, all the controllers are unique. All the policy languages are unique. The toddling mechanisms are maybe similar if you're looking under the hood, but like you look at Cisco's the their SD wan solution that was based on the Viptela acquisition, that it's a very robust architecture that works a very specific way. They bought some of the best SD we unpack that was made. Does it work with anything else that's out there with Velo cloud and any other arrests? No, that's not a thing you can write. You can make junction points where you can exchange routes and and interconnect stuff where you're dumbing it down to probably a OSB for BGP exchange level. You're not actually interconnecting tunnels and meshes and policy controllers and things. They want you in that world. Cisco wants you in the DNA world. Just unique do their things, stick with their system by their switches. That'll fit into that world. And of course it'll work with ice. Then it'll work with, 20 of the other things that they've bought and acquired over the years to try to sell you a uniform solution. They want all that spent know VMware bought Velo cloud because they want to keep you in that world. They want all your spin, they bought in a Siri years ago and turned that into the NSX platform.

Dean:

And he's gone effectively backwards to the way they used to do business. Could you set this up and start your podcast or this podcast that everything was very siloed apart, Terry, and it looks like we're going back that way. If do you have any insight or any thoughts or anything of why organizations are doing that? Obviously, other than money, it can't surely just be that.

Ethan:

I don't think it's more complicated than that, Dean. I really think it is largely driven by business. They again, they want to keep you in the house. And so they'll do what they can to keep you around. Now, there is another piece of this, which goes to standards bodies. So I've sat in some IDTF meeting and just listen to what's happening as the folks that are involved in developing a standard that eventually becomes, an RFC, a standard track RFC we'll sit and nitpick and argue with each other. How standards should be implemented and why, if what's going on behind the scenes, it could be this company that's standing up at the IATF meeting and arguing for a protocol to be tweaked in this particular way. It's because they got an ASIC, they got a chip that can handle that at wire speed and it would save the millions of dollars of development if the standard goes that way. But if the standard goes the other way, all of a sudden they don't have a hardware solution to run that protocol. And it would be extremely costly for them to support the standard. And so they will argue with separately for the standard to be implemented in a way that is advantageous to them. And so rather than the technology being the standard being developed because of what is best or what is the ideal technology solution, it's a solution that's best for who can argue with the loudest and who's got the most sway. So you take that scenario times the ultimate solutions that get built on these standards. And you've got companies that. And many, this isn't universal. I'm talking, there's just, but this is a thing happens. You built on a standard that was best for them built for that particular company. And that's why they're arguing so loudly. For that thing, because it would cost them less to deliver that there is a very, there's a great deal of business driving these decisions as opposed to the ideal and perfect technical solution. It's it sucks to say that, I feel bad, but I,

Dean:

no I appreciate the clarity, cause there's always a business and money component to everything we do. And I just never imagined. Oh, have you had the imagination that it will go so far to the RFC level?

Ethan:

It does. It actually does. Go as deeply as that I guess another way to ask yourself the question would be if everyone solutions followed a standard and they were all perfectly interoperable and compatible with one another, what's the difference driving you to dry, to buy a Cisco versus a Juniper versus an Arista. Wha why do you care? CA does it just come down to cost at that point with the vendor, they want to put a differentiated solution that you can't get from anybody else out there. And a salesman wants to your account. Rep wants to walk in and take you out to lunch and say, you want to buy this. We're doing it like this. No one else is doing it like this. And have that actually means something they want to deliver a differentiated solution to you. A lot of it also has to do with secure. So much of the fancy solutions that are out there to be that are proprietary and unique to a vendor are tied to identity management that are tied to keeping assets secure that are due to compliance, making sure that your systems are compliant with some regulation that you have to, it's all, covering your backside kind of stuff. And if some vendor can deliver that to you, then you'll invest in that. And so this is again, why would you put a solution out the door that's standard and interoperable with everybody else's then you can't compete, then what's attractive. It's not special solution to someone. Yeah. Yeah. If everyone's special. No, one's special. If

Pat:

nothing's a fire,

Dean:

you're going back to the whole Microsoft thing and only allowing their browsers on their frigging PCs. Yeah. That's not cool, Eva, man. You know what I mean? I guess their operating system, but they got slapped on the wrist for that.

Ethan:

Yeah. Give us lots of tests that you see permeating the industry. I'm an apple guy. I got all Mac stuff and I phone an iPad and all the rest of it. Apple plays lots of dirty games like that to keep.

Dean:

Yeah, absolutely sure,

Pat:

sure. Yeah, sure.

Dean:

But my apple device can talk to my windows device. There's no issue with that. Or I can still run safari on windows if I wanted to isn't that right. I know what you're saying. There's something that you play, but at least from a consumer level, I'm not really seeing a lot of that.

Ethan:

No, I don't think it's as bad as the in, in the consumer space, because that's a different game. That's a volume game. You don't make as much money per device as you do in the enterprise game or the service buyer game where the profit margins are absolutely massive. And you're selling by the pallet load instead of one at a time through outlets. And so on the amount of money that is being spent to build hyperscale data centers and to build large out, build out large enterprise data centers, the amount of money that is exchanging hands to build those environments are highly competed for businesses. Cisco will go out of their way to retain your business. If you're a high dollar customer. Sure. That's the business. That's just the name of the game.

Pat:

It's the name of the game? My last question for me anyway, is, talking certs and college versus know formal education and certs and things of that nature. I see, especially in today's world, in the cybersecurity world, some of the high walls that are out there as far as like nobody wants to junior, they all want the, they all want guys, or gals, long in the tooth and things of that nature. What do you see in Ethan as far as some of the some of the walls are some of the biggest, like hurdles for folks getting into the industry nowadays? Is it the HR gatekeeping? Is it, Hey entry-level but they require two, three years. Like I see that a lot. What do you have a pulse on that, on, on some of their

Ethan:

talking about cybersecurity specifically, or

Pat:

just anything I T Y cybersecurity is notorious for that. That seems to be the one industry that is really bad. But now it doesn't have to be strictly for cyber. It can be it as a whole. Yeah,

Ethan:

there's a couple of problems or a couple of things that I think are going on there. One is technology is complex. The technology stack increases in complexity over time. Nothing old goes away. You have to know it too. So like we were talking about Ethan and TCP IP is building the fundamentals, new ethernet and IP routing and some switching. And that was a career. No. Yeah. And now you got to know, all kinds of security and not just writing firewall rules and policies, but all of this stuff right up through the application layer and you gotta be able to deal with identity management. You've got to do a mobile device management and on top of that, you also have to know cloud stuff. Now, like we were talking about earlier, all this different things going on in the cloud and be literate in that. And it'd be really good if you knew a lot of automation tooling as well. And so if you're trying to hire into an it position for your company, you want a more senior person. That's probably had exposure to a lot of this. Jr. Isn't going to with had a lot of it and it's going to take them a longer time to ramp up. And if you have a headcount to fill, you probably don't want to spend a lot of time having to nurture them along. So you end up with, I want a senior, I want someone who's got, seven, 10 more years in the industry and try to find that person. Now the trick is those are hard people to find the senior folks are there. There's only so many of them that are out there. So that's that I think is the biggest thing that's going on. It's the complexity of the technology stack that any it engineers expected to be at least literate on, if not, no, no deep. Take some years to get that knowledge behind you. And so it is tough to get your foot in the door and in some disciplines like cybersecurity in there aren't as many junior roles out there. Now, the irony is if you can get into a junior role and you're apt you're competent and you lean hard and you study, you can move from a junior capability to a senior capability within a year or two or something like that. Whether the company will let you move to a senior class is a different sort of a question, but company. You talking about gatekeepers, the HR folks and stuff like that, they don't understand deeply what the it role is or how to screen. They look for. They look for keywords. They use search engines that screen for keywords on your resume or your CV, and try to figure out based on keyword screening, whether this person is, or is not likely to be able to fill in this role. It's tough. It's tough to get noticed out. There really is, you need to be the kind of a person who's. Blogging, let's say and active in your local meetup group and community, and sharing your knowledge out there on a, Reddit in some of the tech groups. And so you've got something to show for yourself. If you don't have experience on the job that you can demonstrate, look your blog can be your resume. Yeah, no, I've never had a job, full time doing AWS stuff, but here's all the things I have been doing. Check out my blog. I, you were talking about, asking me this question in the interview a little bit ago, how it solved that problem? I've never done it in real life, but I have worked on that. Check out my blog post. I wrote three months ago about that, but talks about it. You end up having to do those kinds of things to advocate for your. And again, differentiate yourself from the crowd and, get a shot at some of these jobs where maybe otherwise you wouldn't be noticed because your resume does.

Pat:

Yeah. That's a great point. I think that goes in the other that blogging serves multiple purposes there. So say you're going for an, a plus or an N plus or whatever certain you're going for log your progress with that and saying, Hey look. These, this is what I studied or, this is how I got to the A-plus, I've studied X, Y, and Z. These are some of the hurdles I got over. I couldn't remember, chip sites or whatever they had plus, test on put those in a series of blogs and that sort of sorta shows the road warrior in you as far as Hey, I just didn't show up to a room, take a test, memorize a couple of questions and put a stamp on my name, sort of thing. Like it's actual like a tray, like a paper trail to say, Hey, look, I've been in the trenches, if you will. Now in a lab environment, like you said, I haven't done it in real life, just in a lab environment, but I have been there. And I think that goes a long way as well to show employees. You're not just showing up at a testing center and, Put the names or letters behind your name and throw it on your resume and off he goes. I think the blogging is a big one. I think that's a very good point. As far as at least tracking your progress through a blog. I think that serves multiple purposes.

Ethan:

Oh, there's another big purpose they're writing in your blog about the things you're learning in your certification studies, which I strongly advocate. I did a lot of that. Exactly. That over the years, as you start writing things down that blog to explain what you studied, all of a sudden. Oh, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Yeah. Again, so I can explain it. I'll do that lab again.

Dean:

Yeah. Nothing like that. Yeah. It really does show the flaws in what you've learned about. Yeah, for

Pat:

sure. Yep. Big advocate for blogging stuff. You guys said at least, whether it's a private blog that you never release or just some sort of journal that you want to share privately with HR people or tech people, or screeners, whatever you want to call it, where you go for an interview or put it out there. Get a site it's a couple bucks for a domain name, put a site out there. Squarespace. And that's our website through Squarespace. They have whole templates and they're just for blogs. It's stupid. Easy to put that stuff up there nowadays. So do it. I think it's a fair play. And I think you're going to thank yourself later for it, honestly.

Dean:

Agreed.

Ethan:

Completely agree, pat. Completely agree. Just I've done it for years. I can't write a career out of it in some ways,

Pat:

if it's working for you, man, it's got to work for someone else. That's all.

Dean:

So my, my last question from was going from quite a technical nature like doing your programming getting a degree in computer science dabbling with Cisco gear, Novell gear, Microsoft. How did you you touched on a little bit about blogging, but how did you transition into doing more producing more content, doing a podcast getting into more of the media side of things. What, and you've been doing it for a while. So what what got you into that sort of arena?

Ethan:

I turned a blog into a career is the summary in 2007, I began studying for the CCIE and the, one of the ways that I studied was by blogging, the things that I was studying about. And so I would read a chapter in the study guide and I would write write up the highlights from that chapter of the big points that stuck out to me. I did that faithfully. I was writing multiple times per week when I got from the theory and it was getting into the lab work. I would, I had a bunch of lab exercises that I bought study programs from different vendors that would teach you CCIE stuff with their labs. Okay. Here's your lab, topology. Here's all the exercises. You need to go to them and I'd go do them all. And I'd write all that stuff up. That content that I created, I don't know, hundreds of articles, between 2007 and 2008, I was writing in preparation for the CCIE and people that picked up on and began following me began following it, not just because of the technical nerd stuff I was writing about, but because it was like, is this guy got to pass his eye. He was like, and it was almost like reality TV disorder. And and and ultimately I did, I passed it in 2008. That main meant I became somewhat known in networking circles, the online network and community, which turned into some other opportunities. One of which was my packet pushers co-founder and friend Greg Farrow, Greg was running a blog. Like I was running a blog. He was running one called the theory of mind.com and he was also doing nerd blogging and we knew each other because we both had popular networking. And I think the way it went down, as Greg reached out to me and said, Hey, I'm looking for guest writers on my blog. He winters. And I was like, ah, I got my own blog. That's cool. But I was thinking about starting a podcast. What do you think about that? And he's yeah, there was a third guy involved at the time. Dan who Dan Hughes, Dan was there were three of us that were cohosting packages way back at the beginning in 2010. Dan ended up working for AWS in Dublin, I believe, and was muzzled. He wasn't allowed to be a podcast host because of AWS rules and stuff. It was just Greg and I, but Greg and I just kept doing the podcast weekly. Somehow between one or the other, or both of us, we bloody well got a show recorded and got it published. And it just picked up steam because we were there wasn't I don't think there were any other networking podcasts at the time, which is why we want to start it. Cause there wasn't anything to listen to them. We want it to talk about networking. We did, and that just turned into other opportunities for us. And in 2015, we had enough work. We were doing with vendors who would come on to sponsor the show and talk about their products and stuff. We charged them for that. And we like, is there a business here? And long story short, there is, yeah, there was a business there for, I've been doing it full time since 2015. So we. We look at packet bushes as a bridge between the community of consumers, end users, engineers, architects, people that are building networks for a living and vendors in some point who have products that solve problems that engineers have. And so we try to cut through the marketing nonsense that a lot of the vendors go, Hey, I'll make chocolate cake for you and give you a hug every morning. Oh. And it routes to leave the chocolate cake out of it and talk about what it really does. Some shows are better than some shows are worse, depending on how well the vendor gets us and wants to talk deep nerd stuff and deep engineering stuff. But yeah, I've been doing that full time since 2015 paired with a little bit of consulting in there too, and, and so on. But but yeah, I haven't been doing like. Building a core network for it's been a bit since I've had to do that. And instead, my technical role is I spent a lot of time researching. I read a lot of documentation and I talked to a lot of vendors, try to get away from the PR folks and try to talk to the engineers who actually built the thing, what it is they built, and what they're doing. And occasionally attend an IATF meeting about what's going on with current standards that are emerging. And so I look at my job now as, rather than, building data centers, which is what I did for a very long time. It is keeping right up on the bleeding edge of what the industry is doing and then sharing that on wheel. Why Y I co-host two different podcasts these days and sharing that information. I call this day two cloud, which is cloud engineering. And then I co-host heavy networking with Greg and and we just stay right up on the very latest of what's going on. Find the people that are building the thing, whatever the thing is, that's being built, interview them and share that information out.

Dean:

That's awesome.

Ethan:

It's a different job than,

Dean:

playing with the pools and being on the gear.

Ethan:

Yeah. I still love that stuff, I'm a nerd. I love to build things. That's who I am. I like building things. So like today I spent most of my day in the guts of a WordPress sequel tables, trying to figure out how to surface, how many downloads a particular MP3 from our podcast network has. And I'm using Python as a bunch of glucose to do API calls to the CDN on the one side and to WordPress on the honor. And I'm like oh, probably 25% of the way through. What's going to be a many weeks long projects I've done. I still do lab stuff. I still build because sometimes I'll want to be like I want to show someone on YouTube, how to I did something weird that just caught my attention for by BGP. ASNs what is that all about? Was that rocket science? No, but I'll still crank up a lab get some virtual iOS or some virtual juvenile stuff going and explain how that works and how to do it and how to configure it in of course of the infrastructure as code stuff going on. There's no lack of toys to play with. If you want to play with Python or Terraform or Ansible, or I do love doing all that stuff. I do. You know what? I don't Ms. Dean. I don't miss sitting on my butt with my butt on a perf tile blowing cold air up my rear end. I am plugged into the rack to AMT hit so that I can actually press the button to make the change.

Dean:

No one misses that no one misses you change windows. Oh yeah. And we just have a change management podcast, but yeah, they have changed windows. So

Pat:

it's funny. Either that's pretty much it. I know we're a little bit over the hour. So this. This was an extra one, but this was some great conversations. Again, thanks so much for joining us and coming to hang out for a little bit, man. We could go on forever and you're certainly welcome back. Anytime. Strapped, drop us a line and certainly come back and we'll hang in and talk about other things, but excellent.

Ethan:

Those of you listening to this podcast, and here's the joke. The joke is we were going back and forth and email me and pat and Dean about what are we going to talk about? Here's a bunch of topics. And one of the times was tech technical documentation. I got all excited. All let's talk about technical documents because that's the thing I love wrote this whole outline, all these points I was going to make. Then as we got together before the show tonight that we're recording late in the day here for all of us, I was like we can talk about whatever. We don't have to talk about technical back in Asia. So maybe that's a conversation we have in the future guys.

Pat:

That's it. That's just the reason for you to come back. I know you talked about a lot, where can the fine folks find you guys.

Ethan:

Yeah. So for packet pushers stuff, if you want to listen to our network of podcasts for nerdy engineering staff, that's packetpushers.net, just look around, it's pretty obvious. You can figure out what all the different shows are. We have six shows that are active right now in the network. And if you want to find out more about me, ethancbanks.com, there's links to any podcasts that I'm on. The book that I coauthored with a friend of mine about networking stuff and so on. So ethancbanks.com and then Twitter would be the last place @ecbanks.

Pat:

Cool right on. Yes. I agree. Yeah. Go follow Ethan. And those guys, obviously they don't need any plugs from us. They're one of the bigger ones in the space, so we're just glad to have you on and come hang and give us a little bit of your time, but yeah, we're going to get out of your hair. Visit our website. soyouwannabeinit.com all of our stuff. Is there every episode you can subscribe to the show, right? From there on your favorite platforms? All of our social media handles are there a contact form, email, literally everything. So that's our one-stop shop. For getting a hold of Dean and I, our listener survey is still out there. That's a again on our website as well, but we'll mention it here. It's a sywbiit.com/survey, just to listener surveys, a couple of questions of just to help us tweak the show and what you like, what you don't like. And you know what what day you listen, things that nature, all the information we don't sell it or anything it's just aggregated to help us tweak the show a little bit and get a little feedback. Talk Ethan, as talking into a mic, you never know who's, w what's landing, what's not. So just the more feedback we can get the better and we'll take it from there. I think that is it's again. So you going to be an I t.com go hang out there for a little bit and join our discord and Instagram and all the links are there. It's a one-stop shop. So again, thanks so much for your time. Thanks everybody for listening. I know there's only 24 hours in a day and yeah. You decided to take an hour or so and listen to us. So we really appreciate that and come back for more and we'll see you guys next week. Thank you so much.

Ethan:

Thanks guys. I had a lot of fun.

Pat:

Awesome. See you next time.

Dean:

Take care. Bye.